West Considers His Options As Clock Runs Out On St. Lucie County Recount

Nov 19, 2012

Republican Congressmen Allen West is still refusing to concede the election to his Democratic opponent, Patrick Murphy, after an attempted recount by the St. Lucie County Canvassing Board this weekend.

Still No Concession: Allen West wants hearings on the recount.
Credit Gage Skidmore on flickr

According to Christine Stapleton's story in The Palm Beach Post, the board ran into a technical problem that kept it  from completing the count before noon on Sunday. That's the deadline for certifying election results to the state, whatever state the results are in.

Murphy, who has been in Washington for rookie Congressman orientation classes, declared victory and called again for West to concede, prompting this from West campaign manager Tim Edson: "Murphy's people are full of garbage."

The West campaign's full response is here, complete with swipes at  St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker. The Murphy campaign victory declaration is here.

Although the passage of Sunday's noon deadline seems to be an absolute conclusion of the issue, it may not be. West is considering his options, including seeking hearings under an election law exemption crafted for pretty extreme circumstances. More from the Post:

That exemption defines emergency as any occurrence “that results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property to the extent it will prohibit an election officer’s ability to conduct a safe and orderly election.”

West, R-Palm Beach Gardens, also could challenge the official results using a rarely used law that allows the loser to contest the final results after all the ballots have been certified.

The complaint, called an election contest, can be filed only under several strict conditions: misconduct, fraud, bribery or corruption by an election official; the winner is not eligible for office; illegal votes or rejection of enough legal votes to change or create doubt in the results. West’s legal team declined to say whether an election contest would be filed.

Under the current state of the count, Murphy has increased his lead somewhat over West.  He has 65,841 votes to West’s 52,704. His margin is .65 percent, slightly above the .50 percent that would trigger an automatic recount in all of District 18  which comprises parts of Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties.

Among the problems with the recount was an electronic cartridge from one precinct that could not be loaded into the tabulation machine, even though the results were handcounted. And West's campaign is suspicious of the results from Precinct 93, where 900 votes supposedly were cast. According to West, the precinct has only seven registered voters.

West supporters swarmed the counting area after the outcome was announced, shouting "Count our votes!"